In one of the most evenly matched round of 64 NCAA tournament games in the South Region on Friday, the eighth-seeded Creighton Bluejays (21-11) will face the ninth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats (22-11) as small favorites. The Bluejays are making their second straight appearance in the Big Dance and 21st overall after losing to the Rhode Island Rams in their opener last year.
March Madness point spread: The Bluejays opened as two-point favorites; the total is at 144.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
March Madness betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 75.4-74.1, Bluejays (March Madness picks on every game)
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Why Kansas State can cover the spread
Like Creighton, Kansas State is also returning to the NCAA tournament for the second season in a row, advancing to the round of 64 a year ago after winning its First Four game 95-88 versus the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Wildcats then fell to the Cincinnati Bearcats 75-61, but they have that experience to lean on.
The Wildcats are coming off an 83-67 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks as 7.5-point underdogs in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament last Friday, ending a run of five wins in seven games straight up and against the spread.
Why Creighton can cover the spread
The Bluejays have had more time off since dropping a 72-68 overtime decision to the Providence Friars in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament last Thursday. They were listed as 3.5-point favorites in that game and had won two of their previous three both SU and ATS to finish as the fourth seed in a stacked conference featuring two top three teams in the second-ranked Villanova Wildcats and third-ranked Xavier Musketeers.
In fact, Creighton upset Villanova 89-83 in OT as a seven-point home underdog on February 24 behind a combined 52 points from Khyri Thomas and Marcus Foster.
Smart betting pick
Outside of the recent win over the Wildcats and a rout of the DePaul Blue Demons, the Bluejays have struggled to cover the number lately, going a disappointing 0-8 ATS in their other eight lined games over their past 11. Creighton is also just 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a favorite and 1-5 SU in its previous six versus Big 12 opponents, making a strong case to back Kansas State as an underdog in this situation.
March Madness betting trends
Creighton is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a favorite.
The total has gone under in 10 of Creighton's last 12 games as a favorite.
Kansas State is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games in March.
All college basketball odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.